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Guest opinion: Klamath issues

by Richard Marshall, President, Siskiyou County Water Users Association, / Fort Jones Apr 13, 2018 

Recently, a town hall meeting was held in Yreka on March 19 at the Miner’s Inn. Ostensibly this meeting was for the KRRC to explain what was happening and their role in the destruction of the Klamath dams. Siskiyou Daily News did a cover story which did little to examine for the public or present to the public what actually happened at the meeting. Nothing is mentioned in the story line of the tremendous interest generated by numerous individual citizens of Siskiyou County to call the public’s attention to this matter of great public concern. No pictures nor mention was made of the approximately 60 people who cared enough to protest this meeting by carrying signs and later staging a walkout at the meeting. I don’t know if your reporter was asleep or just doesn’t understand the amount of interest in the community regarding the continued efforts to destroy the dams and unleash unknown economic harm on the Klamath River and on Siskiyou County citizens. We would like not to believe that the local news just doesn’t get it.

We are well aware of the “real role” of the KRRC as by their own admission they have no ability to negotiate anything in regard to the dams. They are in the “mix” for one reason only, that is by agreement with the states of Oregon and California and PacifiCorp and numerous environmental and tribal groups to destroy the dams and “remove the liability of the “parties” to the amended KHSA of any potential monetary damages resulting from the destruction of the mighty Klamath River and the aquatic life within and along the river. The KRRC for your factual presentation never existed until some attorneys in New York City on the 42nd floor of an office building formed the organization in 2016 and then established it as a 501 3c in California. That corporation (KRRC) which has only two employees by last count, entered into an agreement with a Canadian corporation, AECON, which is about to be acquired by a Chinese conglomerate known as CCCI, an arm of the Chinese government. Essentially this is a masterful method to provide an escape hatch for those who want to see the clean energy producing hydro facilities destroyed without consequences to them. The taxpayers and ratepayers will be left holding the proverbial “bag” after the damage will have been done.

In addition to the above, the KRRC would have been unable to hire anyone or the services of Aecon without having been funded to the tune of $25,000,000 by the Natural Resources Department of California from funds created by the water bond issue (Prop. One) in California. This amount was claimed to be part of the $250,000,000 slated to be given to KRRC. This was accomplished without direct approval by the legislature to the best of our knowledge.

It should be noted that the California Public Utilities Commission, CPUC, still has not answered the legal issues raised by legal counsel for the County of Siskiyou or those raised by Siskiyou County Water Users in earlier petitions to the CPUC. One of those issues concerned the board member Liane Randolph, who voted in the commission although she was the lead counsel of the legal effort by the California Natural Resources Department to remove the dams. It was our position that she should have recused herself from voting.

The above is the story that a local paper dedicated to educating the public should be pursuing as an element of the region and people that it supposedly represents. Seek out the truth in this matter. The destruction of the dams will not result in more salmon, but it will result in damages in the short run and in the long run to Siskiyou County and its citizens as well as other counties impacted by the Klamath. If the dams are destroyed there will be no turning back. Other more intelligent solutions would look at the in depth causes of the declining salmon population and there are many, to name a few, the impact of Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), predators at sea, damages to the riverbeds resulting from the flood of 1964, fish hatchery policies, lack of improvement of redds in the feeder tributaries, policies of the Bureau of Reclamation, overfishing, and lack of instream flow which will be exacerbated by the removal of the storage capacity of the dams.


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Editor’s note: While it is accurate that we were not at the KRRC meeting in question, it was due to a scheduling issue, which happens often with a staff of this size. In fact, we did cover a previous KRRC meeting where many of the same protesters were present. To claim that we are ignoring the Klamath dams issue is absurd on its face; I have personally been writing about the issue – the majority of the time about dam removal opponents’ concerns – for the better part of a decade. To ignore the vast record of articles we have run about the dam issue to try to defame us is simply disingenuous.– Dave



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